One of the biggest concerns for travelling parents, particularly those about to embark on a long haul flight, is how to keep kids entertained on the plane.
I think there are two important factors when choosing travel toys for kids: the first is to make sure you have a good variety, and the second is that they should be activity-based toys, rather than dolls or cars etc. (Although by all means pack one or two of these too, as I know some kids will happily play for hours with a doll or car).
Ziploc bags are your friends when packing a variety of kids toys for the plane – leave all bulky packaging behind and throw each activity/game into its own Ziploc bag.
I know a few mums who like to wrap up toys to add a bit of fun and magic to the proceedings – but if you’re anything like me, you’re still throwing last minute things in your case when you’re about to leave for the airport, and the last thing you have time for is wrapping presents! Plus knowing my luck they would make me unwrap them all at airport security anyway. But if you have time on your hands, by all means go ahead. Just do your fellow passengers a favour and leave any noisy electronic games at home!
So if you are looking for ways of how to keep kids entertained on the plane, here is our pick of the best toys for the plane.
I hate to think how much I have spent on sticker, colouring and books over the last few years, but they are excellent for keeping kids entertained on the plane. With so many to choose from with so many different themes and brands, you can easily find a few to suit your kids – no matter what their age.
My kids love all kinds of activity books – from colour-by-numbers, to stickers, to paper dolls, mazes and dot-to-dot. Other books to look out for include the no-mess versions like the Melissa & Doug Water Wow books and the Crayola Color Wonder books.
Card games are perfect for plane travel with kids. They take up next to no space and can keep the whole family entertained for hours. Just an ordinary deck of cards will see you sorted for loads of different kid-friendly card games. Other must-have card games for travel include UNO, Dobble and Top Trumps.
As well as card games there are plenty of other fun travel games for kids out there, with many of your favourite games coming in travel versions. As well as some of the card games mentioned above, we also have Travel Connect 4 and Guess Who and I remember playing Travel Battleships on the plane as a kid. Other fun looking travel games include Travel Yahtzee and Scrabble Twist.
Wikki Stix are one of the best things to take on the plane for kids. These self-sticking sticks can be moulded and shaped into whatever craft shape your imagination allows. And they take up next-to no space. Perfect.
Magnetic Drawing Board
A magnetic drawing board is one of the best toys for travelling, as it can be used over and over, with no need for worrying about needing new paper or finding a pen. Great for drawing, writing practice and playing games – read up on pen-and-paper games before you go such as Tic-Tac-Toe and Hangman.
Play-Doh is a great travel toy for the plane. Fill a Ziploc bag with a few travel sized pots and some shape cutters and let the kids’ creative juices run freely. Try not to let them grind it into the carpet or plane seat though, or you might not be very popular with the aircrew.
I have also heard of play-doh being the cause of a security alert for one family and a friend of mine’s husband was strip-searched in Bali for taking blocks of homemade play-doh into the country in their luggage (true story – it’s ok my friend, I won’t name and shame you!) You have been warned…
Loom bands are a great activity for plane, particularly if you bring a plastic loom – which is not only light but won’t cause alarm at the x-ray machine. You can bring hundreds of the little rubber bands and they won’t take up hardly any room or weight in your carry-on bag.
iPad or Tablet
I know it’s not a toy – but the iPad is the saving grace of many a travelling parent. Load it up with educational apps and a few TV shows and movies and hopefully it will entertain the kids for a few hours. Don’t forget to pack a charger or portable power bank to ensure you don’t run out of battery life! And don’t forget to pack your kids’ headphones out of courtesy for your fellow passengers!
Also note that changes are in the making regarding taking electronics on planes, and so be sure to check your airline and route before you fly.
Do you have any other great toys for the plane to add to our list? What’s your favourite travel toy for the plane?
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